Prospective drivers to face much stricter test rules

Two hands on the wheel and no devices Photo:

Caretaker infrastructure minister Mark Harbers is introducing stricter rules for driving schools to improve test results and make new drivers safer.

“Exam fraud, instructors who deliberately register clients for tests too early and special deals which suggest a fast track to a driving licence are all examples of practices that need to go,” Harbers said.

Currently just over half of candidates pass their physical driving test the first time around while just 39% pass the theory test.

This prompted the ministry to set up a commission made up of driving school representatives, exam institutes CBR and IBKI and exam experts to review the process and to monitor its progress.

Under the new rules, lessons will be obligatory and candidates can no longer apply for a test based on experience gained elsewhere.

They will also have to learn several additional skills, such as driving in the dark and driving at 130 kph. A social behaviour test will also become part of the package, the minister said.

Driving instructors will have to have a diploma from an accredited training institute and will have to do both tests every five years. Instructors who fail the tests three times will lose their licence.

The stricter rules may lead to more expensive lessons but that will be offset by leaner drivers being more likely to pass, Harbers said. “We expect that the new rules will result in more people passing their driving test in one go,” he said.

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